Obama Dominates Conversations in Days Before the Election, Both in Quantity & Quality

Wednesday, 07 November 2012 / Published in Blog, Insights

By Brad Fay and Siobhan Counihan-McGee

Keller Fay’s “Conversation Nation” project with the National Journal (http://bit.ly/U7taXF) found that President Obama had the positive word-of-mouth momentum in the last two weeks prior to his re-election this week. Over the last weekend, in particular, President Obama reached a 2012 high with 61% of voters talking about him daily, versus 49% for Governor Romney.

Super Storm Sandy initially reduced WOM for both candidates, but it came roaring back in the storm’s aftermath, particularly for the President.  The President’s edge is consistent with much of what we’ve seen since the beginning of the summer, with Obama leading for the most part in terms of WOM volume. Romney has drawn even with the president on occasion – shortly after the Republican National Convention in August, and in the days surrounding the second & third presidential debates – but talk about the GOP nominee has failed to maintain the level seen for the sitting President.

[Source: Keller Fay Group’s TalkTrack®, Late May – Early November 2012]

Obama also peaked at the right time in terms of word-of-mouth, with talk about the President reaching a new high in sentiment during the final weekend of the campaign. Of all conversations about the President, 49% were rated as being “mostly positive,” vs. 31% “mostly negative” – allowing Obama to enjoy an 18-point advantage on positive-to-negative talk, his best of the year. At the prior high, first seen at the end of September & again during the last week of October, talk about Obama was 17 points more positive than negative.

In contrast, talk about Romney was 5 points more negative (39%) than positive (34%) during the most recent period. This is consistent with results seen for much of the summer, albeit not to the same degree – at its weakest, Romney’s word-of-mouth sentiment was 29 points more negative than positive.

[Source: Keller Fay Group’s TalkTrack®, Late May – Early November 2012]

Vice President Joe Biden also enjoyed fairly good WOM quality this past week, with 45% positive talk vs. 36% negative – a 9-point advantage. Meanwhile, talk about Congressman Paul Ryan, the GOP’s VP pick, was about equally negative (39%) and positive (38%).

In terms of conversation topics, conversations about both Obama and Romney have been highly focused on the elections over the past 4 weeks: The #1 topic is “whether or not the candidate is likely to win” (42% for Obama and 43% for Romney). For Obama, the second-most frequent topic of conversation related to “liking the candidate” (32%); for Romney, “disliking the candidate” was the #2 conversation topic (32%). Conversations about Romney were also far more likely to pertain to “issues that you & the candidate disagree on” (31%, vs. 28% for Obama) and “about not wanting to vote for the candidate” (28%, vs. 25% for Obama).

[Source: Keller Fay Group’s TalkTrack®, Early October – Early November 2012]

These results are consistent with what has been reported most recently by Keller Fay’s Conversation Nation media partner, the National Journal (http://bit.ly/U7taXF). Together, Keller Fay & National Journal have been tracking word-of-mouth about the candidates since earlier this summer.

In the weeks following the election, Keller Fay Group will be analyzing findings from Conversation Nation in comparison to pre-election polling throughout the campaign, and to the actual results on Election Day. We’ll be looking to better understand the relationship between voter conversations and decisions, and drawing implications for commercial marketing and electoral campaigns alike.

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